12 Aug VIRTUAL AGMs TO STAY, FOR ANOTHER YEAR; CAN YOUR BOSS DEMAND YOU TO GET THE JAB?
Welcome to this week’s business and media intelligence update.
VACCINATIONS: CAN YOUR BOSS DEMAND YOU TO GET THE JAB?
As the super virulent Delta strain locks down whole sections of Australia’s eastern seaboard, and vaccination rates nowhere near the Federal Government’s 80 percent re-opening target, organisations are beginning to ask if they can mandate vaccinations as a condition for employees returning to work.
The Federal Government has made it clear that it will not be mandating vaccines for all workplaces, despite arguably being able to do so under public health emergency powers.
It means employers will be left to slug it out with their staff, their customers, and ultimately, the courts.
So, what does the Fair Work Ombudsman and Safe Work Australia say?
Their view is that most employers should assume that they cannot require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, as there is no specific law requiring a person to be vaccinated.
Individuals and businesses are encouraged to obtain legal advice about their own specific circumstances and to carefully consider the position of vulnerable groups before imposing blanket vaccination policies, as they may have unintended consequences and may breach Federal discrimination law.
VIRTUAL AGMs TO STAY, FOR ANOTHER YEAR AT LEAST
After much horse-trading, the Senate this week passed legislation designed to “modernise” Australia’s Corporations Act, including extending pandemic-era provisions that allow for electronic signatures and virtual AGMs until 2022.
The legislation raises the threshold for civil breaches of continuous disclosure laws by introducing a fault-based approach that will only hold directors and corporations responsible for breaches if material information was “negligently, recklessly or intentionally” withheld.
Proponents of the legislation argue that it provides certainty to company directors, reduces the cost of liability insurance, and could potentially lead to fewer shareholder class actions.
Those opposed say that it will make it easier for companies to withhold information from shareholders.
HOW MUCH CARBON IS CREATED BY THAT DOGGIE IN THE WINDOW?
How much carbon goes into creating a can of coke? Or a roll of toilet paper?
Sustainable funds attracted some $51 billion worth of investment globally last year, and as investors start to demand concrete answers to simple questions like this, companies are being forced to grapple with the ever-shifting ground of climate accounting.
While many organisations have jumped on the sustainability band wagon, ESG ratings by agencies such as Refinitiv, MSCI, and Sustainalytics are often confusing and contradictory, leaving investors with no way of gauging which measure to use.
No wonder then, that the Investor Group on Climate Change or IGCC, whose members collectively manage some $2 trillion in funds, warned this week that Australia risks being left behind as the rest of the investment community works to align itself with climate disclosure rules.
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